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Accountant of ex-Trump aide Manafort testifies she helped falsify documents

Accountant of ex-Trump aide Manafort testifies she helped falsify documents

LaPorta is one of five people on the Mueller's witness list for whom the government requested immunity.

The admission is the first time a witness has acknowledged knowing involvement in potential wrongdoing during Manafort's trial, where the longtime lobbyist is fighting charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Accountant Cindy LaPorta said she had a sense that what Manafort and aide Rick Gates told her about funds being transferred into their global political consulting business wasn't accurate.

Much of the documentation concerning back-dated bank loans and other accounting issues involved Gates, who was also charged with various financial crimes.

After prosecutors appeared to equivocate earlier in the week on whether they would call Gates, who pleaded guilty in February to tax conspiracy, to testify against his former boss, it has become more and more apparent that they will use his testimony to bolster their case against Manafort. So as you consider this, as you hear all the evidence come in, the documents and the testimony, you might ask yourself whether the government knew enough to initiate the audit.

At that time, his company had not received any income in 2016, but Laporta testified that Manafort directed her to reflect that he expected to receive $2.4 million in income later that year.

His plea documents count at least five specific falsehoods he told authorities: that he was told by Manafort that a meeting about Ukraine was not about Ukraine; that he did not lobby US officials about Ukraine; that he did not recall lobbying meetings about Ukraine; that he had served merely as "a means of introduction" for others to talk to USA officials about Ukraine; that their firm did not retain emails longer than 30 days. "I very much regret it", she told the courtroom.

But Ms. Laporta's actions weren't just limited to filing possible false tax returns.

Former federal prosecutor Patrick Cotter said in a previous interview with Mic that given the amount of paper evidence against Manafort, this was the most logical defense for Manafort's lawyers to mount.

Either way, in 2016 when Mr. Manafort sought a home loan from Citizens Bank, the bank anxious that his company, DMP International, could not afford to repay Paranova.

Gates is expected to testify later in the case.

Paul Manafort (right) and his lawyer, Kevin Downing, arrive at the federal courthouse for a motion hearing./Victoria Pickering (Flickr).

"Rick Gates is a double-edged sword", said Mintz. Washkuhn told jurors about a series of emails she sent him in 2016 warning that he was behind on his payments, including to her.

When asked if she believed the loan had been forgiven, Ms. Laporta hesitated before saying, "no". Cotter also said he doesn't believe the defense has a high likelihood of success. "I wanted it to be the client's document".

Manafort is accused of hiding more than $30 million in income in secret offshore bank accounts to avoid paying USA taxes. "But Mr. Manafort was a longtime client of the firm, and I didn't think I should do that". If Manafort is acquitted, they will indeed say that it doesn't prove much of anything about the broader Russian Federation investigation, because the investigation goes far beyond Manfort.

The defense's attempt to pin the blame for the foreign shell company scheme on Gates looked more flimsy as the first week of testimony drew to a close.

And then Manafort went to work for Trump. Short and soft-spoken, Ms. Laporta did not hide her suspicions that Mr. Manafort's financial records had been doctored. It was KWC's express policy to ask such questions via engagement letters.

The trial, however, is not about Russian Federation, or any such conspiracy, focused instead on the personal and business finances of Manafort, Trump's onetime campaign chairman.

And if Manafort did indeed open those accounts, that inherently means he knew they existed - and that he failed to report them to his tax preparers.